ILNews

Appeals court affirms murder convictions

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man's convictions of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and the finding that he is a habitual offender.

In Charles D. Boney v. State of Indiana, No. 22A01-0607-CR-310, Boney was connected to the murder of Kim Camm and her two children at home by her husband, David. Boney provided the weapon David used to murder his family and was at the Camm's home when the murder occurred.

Boney raised several issues on appeal following his jury trial and convictions. He argued his convictions should be reversed because the trial court erred in letting the state exercise a peremptory challenge on a prospective juror who was African-American; specific pretrial statements Boney gave to police officers were improperly admitted into evidence; the trial court abused its discretion by denying a motion for mistrial because of comments made by witnesses regarding Boney's previous incarceration; the trial court erred in refusing to give his proffered instruction on accomplice liability; and the trial court should have granted his motion to correct error based on juror conduct.

The appellate court found no reversible errors and affirmed the trial court's decision.

The reason the African-American prospective juror was excused was based on his responses to the juror questionnaire, not because of his race, so the denial of Boney's Baston challenge by the trial court was not an error, the court found.

Statements Boney had made to police without receiving a Miranda warning were admissible in court because he had made similar statements to another police officer he spoke to earlier that day in which he was advised of his Miranda rights. He also signed a waiver of the right to counsel.

In regards to the trial court denying Boney's motion for a mistrial, the trial court instructed the jury to disregard statements made about Boney's prior incarceration and struck a witness from the trial in order to prevent any harm that may have resulted from the testimony. Any error that may have occurred as a result of the admission of the statements or testimony stricken from the record was harmless, wrote Chief Judge John Baker.

The final jury instruction given by the trial court sufficiently informed the jury about the requirement of finding affirmative action on the part of the defendant before he can be convicted as an accomplice, so Boney's instructions for the jury did not need to be given.

Finally, Boney contended he is entitled to a new trial because of alleged juror misconduct. However, the juror Boney pointed to was excused prior to deliberations and the 11 remaining jurors signed affidavits stating that juror did not influence them nor did he ever make any racist or prejudiced statements regarding Boney. Because the juror did not participate in the deliberations nor influence the other jurors, Boney's argument fails, wrote Chief Judge Baker.
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  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

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